Thursday, December 6, 2018

Let's Go Starpucks

On average, there are approximately 814,000 people in the United States who are doing this on any given day.

And what would this be? TigerBlog will get back to that.

Right now, TigerBlog wants to talk hockey. Did you see that Seattle is getting an NHL team?

TigerBlog mentioned it to his Seattle-resident brother, who was 1) aware of it and 2) not all that interested. He did chuckle when TB mentioned that one of the proposed names he saw for the team, perhaps in jest, was "Starpucks."

Meanwhile, in hockey closer to home, here's the list of teams who are ranked ahead of Princeton in this week's women's hockey poll for Division I: Wisconsin, Minnesota, Northeastern, Cornell and Clarkson.

Princeton is No. 6.

The Tigers, off their impressive sweep of Quinnipiac last weekend, are 7-2-3 overall, 6-0-2 in the ECAC standings and 7-0-3 in their last 10 games. It's been a nice few weeks for Cara Morey's team.

As TB wrote last week, the team's success is even more impressive considering two-year starting goalie Steph Neatby hasn't played a second yet this year due to injury. In her place, Rachel McQuigge has been the team's starter, and her 163 save with only 10 goals allowed earned her the ECAC Goalie of the Month Award for November.

December will not be that busy of a month for Princeton, which plays only four times between now and the end of 2018. The first two of those four games are this weekend, at RPI tomorrow and Union Saturday.

Right now, Princeton is alone in first place in the ECAC standings with 14 points, one ahead of Cornell, who is 6-1-1 in the league. Princeton and Cornell tied 2-2 at Hobey Baker Rink earlier this season. Colgate, the NCAA runner-up a year ago, is in third with 11 points; Princeton owns a 6-0 win over the Raiders earlier this year as well.

RPI (3-3 in the league) and Union (0-5-1) are the only league games for the Tigers this month. Princeton will be off for 22 days after the Union game before a pair of games Dec. 30 and 31 against Merrimack at home.

The new year will get off to a fast start, with back-to-back trips to Harvard and Dartmouth and then Cornell and Colgate before first-semester exams.

While the women are away this weekend for ECAC games, the men are home for two non-league games against Arizona State. How good can Arizona State be in hockey, you're wondering?

The answer is very. The Sun Devils, in just Year 4 of having a program, are currently ranked 19th in Division I, and they will bring a 10-6-0 record to Baker Rink for the games tomorrow and Saturday. The teams split a pair of games in Arizona a year ago.

By the way, UMass, to whom Princeton lost in OT two weeks ago, moved into the No. 1 spot in the national rankings this week.

If you're looking for the most simplistic way of seeing just how far Princeton men's hockey has come under Ron Forgarty, consider that this week the Tigers are in the "others receiving votes" category in the poll. In years past, this would have been a cause for a party; this year, the Tigers are itching to get back into the Top 20, where they've been all year.

Princeton has five more games this month, and none of them are ECAC games. There will be a game on Dec. 15 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia against No. 9 Penn State, and then there will be two games at home against Maine Dec. 28 and 29.

Princeton currently sits in fifth place in the ECAC standings. The Tigers won the ECAC tournament championship a year ago to advance to the NCAA tournament, and once 2019 rolls around - and more intensely after the exam break - Princeton will be playing to duplicate those achievements.

For this month, though, it's just some fun games, four at home and one about 45 minutes away.

And that's the Princeton hockey update.

As for what 814,000 Americans do on any given day? It's celebrate a birthday.

Did you get that correct?

Why mention that today? Well, to 813,999 of the celebrating Americans today, you're on your own.

To John Mack, whose stacked resume includes gems like "Roper Trophy winner" and "student-worker in the Office of Athletic Communications," happy birthday.

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